Surgeons perform about 300,000 procedures for correction of POP each year in the United States. However, many more women suffer from this condition as they manage their prolapsed without surgery.
Many times surgery is chosen when a vaginal pessary is either not desired or cannot be retained comfortably. There are several different surgical techniques which are effective. In addition to the experience and training of the surgeon, specific choices offered depend on you:
- Overall health, prior surgeries and current medical conditions
- Desire to retain sexual function
Whether or not to have surgery for prolapse is an individual decision. The success or failure of someone else's operation should never be the deciding factor for you. Every woman's situation is different. There is no single operation that is right for every patient. You and your urogynecologist must decide on the best option together.
Engage in a detailed discussion with your urogynecologist that includes an evaluation of your overall health, lifestyle, and activity goals (including sexual function) along with the risks of each procedure. This discussion will help you to determine the best procedure for you.
Pelvic reconstructive surgery can be performed through an incision in the vagina, through an incision made through the abdominal wall, or through a series of small incisions in the abdomen through which the surgeon places a laparoscope and instruments. Surgeons can also perform it with the assistance of a robot. Discuss the advantages and disadvantage of each of these approaches with your urogynecologist.
Doctors may suggest surgery if other treatments have failed. The goal of all reconstructive pelvic floor procedures is to restore normal pelvic floor anatomy and give the patient her best chance at maintaining a normal quality of life, including sexual intercourse if desired.
Surgery is a major decision you must make with your physician. You may find the tools below helpful in preparing for surgery. One presents questions to ask your doctor during your pre-op visit, providing an overview of what you can expect when preparing for surgery, and general recommendations for how you can prepare for surgery. The other offers information about mesh.
Original publication date: May, 2008; Updated: November 2014